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Becoming a better writer

Regular readers know I’m a stickler for good communications, oftentimes cringing at what passes today for quality composition.

Too often I’ve encountered emails with dead links, websites missing pages, and sales letters with typographical errors.

At great personal expense I’ve learned the following lessons. Convinced we’re all selling to someone in some way, I’m providing these thoughts for improving your writing after completing your “brain dump.”

1) BE CLEAR. If you don’t know your objective, the reader won’t be able to figure it out either.

2) INFORM. Answer audience questions before they’re asked.

3) BE CONSISTENT. Write like you speak. And yes, I REALLY speak this way.

4) BE QUICK. Most people have a short attention span; get to the point ASAP.

5) ANTICIPATE. Ask yourself “What’s in it for the reader?”

6) BE A SOLUTION. Address readers’ concerns.

7) BE ACCURATE. Always check your facts BEFORE you publish.

8) BE BOLD. Don’t be afraid to make bold FACTUAL statements.

9) KNOW YOUR READER. Keep messages suited to your audience’s demographics.

10) BE BRIEF. Don’t overdo the details.

11) SPEAK APPROPRIATELY. Despite the headlines, a positive tone will engage more readers than a harsh one.

12) GET INPUT. Ask others to read your draft for a different perspective. Take their criticisms seriously.

13) INCLUDE A CTA. Marketing materials without a Call To Action are wasted opportunities.

14) PROOFREAD. Proof and edit your work. Then have someone else do it too.

15) BE SUCCINCT. Keep it organized…and short.

The thing is lots of folks who can speak figure they can also write persuasively. Actually, crafting solid, effective messaging is an art. Making one word do the job of eight is a time-consuming, frustrating challenge.

And the kicker? Writing short, effective copy is harder than writing longwinded prose. Attention spans are getting shorter, and it’s not uncommon to have just a few seconds to grab attention with your letter, text, email, headline, or website.

Meaning if you’ve read this far without your eyes glazing over, you’re significantly different from the overwhelming majority of the population.

Regardless of what you’re selling, good communications is critical to reaching your objectives. Next time you’re fashioning your message, edit first drafts using these ideas as a filter.

You might be surprised by the results.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.


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